PewDiePie Teams With MLG For eSports

PewDiePie remains one of the most successful YouTube creators to date, making millions across a large audience of viewers and subscribers alike. However, that isn’t stopping him from venturing out into new territory.

Felix Kjellberg, who operates the channel under the pseudonym, has launched a new series called BroKen that will air exclusively on MLG.TV, with the debut episode already on the channel. The series first launched last month, but with the agreement, new ones will premiere exclusively on the competitive game channel.

In the show, Kjellberg teams up with his friend Kenneth Morrison (also known as CinnamonToastKen) – and addresses all as “bros” – as he discusses a number of topics that range from the usual gaming antics to popular YouTube trends.

The show will also provide plenty of opportunities to interact with the hosts, as viewers can follow @MLG on Twitter and use the hashtag #BroKen in order to have their questions answered, or see how their opinions relate to the topics at hand.

This interactive new podcast already has a huge following with its move to the MLG Network, with the initial show being viewed over 3.8 million times on YouTube, since its debut last month.

“We’re excited to introduce PewDiePie to the network as we continue to deliver exclusive content from the best producers in the world,” said Ryan “Fwiz” Wyatt, MLG’s vice president of programming. “Our vision for is to make it the home for premium content and producers like PewDiePie and his show BroKen. This type of programming deal with PewDiePie, one of the biggest stars in digital media, is a great example of the premier talent we have joining the growing the line-up.”

That line-up includes a number of game leagues and players, as well as MMA fighter Scott Jorgensen. It’s grown quite a bit in popularity since its launch, available on both mobile devices and Xbox consoles.

Indeed, Kjellberg continues to be on a roll.

Source: Variety

Publisher Prepares For Cloud Gaming Future

Telltale Games is easily rising up in the ranks of the hottest game publishers right now, based on the strength of such episodic fare as The Wolf Among Us, the two seasons of The Walking Dead and its forthcoming adaptation of HBO’s Game of Thrones. But as big as these stories are now, the developer/publisher actually wants to make them bigger – and it could utilize cloud gaming to do so.

“We’ve thought about how we use the cloud and the future of our games using the cloud to tell bigger, greater stories,” said Telltale co-founder and chief executive officer Dan Connors, during a recent discussion at the Cloud Gaming USA conference in San Francisco.

Connors was quick to bring up Netflix’s model as an example, utilizing the power of choice based upon what subscribers were looking to experience. “Players have been asking for this for years,” he said. “The game is informed by the data, and the player feels like this is their personalized game experience.”

He doesn’t just want to expand the game itself, though, but rather the experience surrounding it. With the forthcoming Game of Thrones, for instance, he’s hoping that after watching an episode of the series on HBO, you can also check on your progress within the game, in a relatable manner. “The back end talks to the game, and the game talks to the show, and everything works in sync,” said Connors. “We could have entertainment experiences that are multimedia. We feel we can do this with the biggest stories in the world.”

When it comes to grasping the power of the cloud, Connors explained to Gamesbeat, “What we look at is, we’re now in a place where the cloud is where all media live. Since we work with franchises and work in universes, we can take advantage of that to inform our game. On the other side, as far as how players use the game and form the story creation, we feel like we’re on the cusp of an evolution of entertainment that’s bigger than games, but that brings interactivity to the forefront of entertainment as a critical piece.

“Even if it’s just regular linear entertainment, it’s going to be surrounded by interactivity anyway, just through the way you get it and experience it. When we look at it, that’s the way we think about it,” he concluded.

No word yet on when this new model will be grasped, as Telltale is busy enough between Game of Thrones and the forthcoming Tales From the Borderlands. It shouldn’t be too long, though – and other companies may just follow suit.

Source: GamesBeat

The Secret Of PAX

The PAX Prime show took place in Seattle two weeks ago, and it was a major event for the game industry — both for fans and for game companies. The show was a tremendous success for all, but there’s some lessons to draw from the show for game marketers that may not be so obvious.

But first, a recap of the show itself. PAX Prime is held at the Washington Convention Center in Seattle, and draws about 70,000 people. The show is at maximum capacity for the facility, and as a consequence this year the show sold out in little more than an hour after the registration was opened up.

The PAX show is not just about console games, or even electronic games — PAX deals with all kinds of games, from tabletop roleplaying to miniatures to board games, card games, vintage videogames, mobile games and more. The show illustrates how gamer culture is platform independent. Gamers like to play games, and exactly what medium the game is expressed in is less important than the game itself.

The game companies exhibiting at PAX brought all the fancy displays, and were busy showing off key titles for the fall. The exhibit hall was far from the only attraction, as a League of Legends event was being held in one of the halls, cosplayers roamed the multi-level convention center, and countless rooms held all kinds of gaming, sessions and even concerts, spread out into neighboring hotels. Swarms of gamers clogged the sidewalks for blocks in all directions, and the costumes displayed on eager fans ranged across all genres and media.

As an example of the sort of lengths companies went to, S2 Games put on an interesting display for its upcoming MOBA Strife. One of the characters from the game was built onto a mechanical bull, where eager attendees could line up to try and ride the creature. Over the top Perhaps, but like many of the events it attracted a long line.

It wasn’t just elaborate booth displays attracting people, though. There were plenty of events and game playing, and eager gamers swarmed the card games, board games and roleplaying games on display and being demoed. As an example of the cross-platform appeal of PAX, contestants selected from among the attendees competed in a multi-game challenge spread across the entire show, playing games of all types in an effort to see who was the best all-around gamer.

The attraction of PAX Prime for game marketers should be obvious: This show attracts dedicated gaming fans, the sort who tend to influence and inform dozens of other gamers. When a show sells out 70,000 tickets in an hour, those aren’t casual buyers picking up the tickets. Those are dedicated fans who waited eagerly in front of the keyboard for registration to open.

An interesting side note here: PAX Prime, unlike many other conventions, does not issue badges with names on them. Your badge is not unique, and in fact you are free to sell it to someone else (whether or not PAX officially approves of this, they have no way of knowing). Scalpers could be found outside the convention center every day of the show, offering to buy badges from attendees or sell them to eager fans looking for a way in to the show. The result of this process, official or not, is that only the most dedicated fans end up attending the show.

This, then is the secret of PAX: the show attracts a goodly number of the most dedicated gamers, and these gamers are the key to the success of game companies. The game industry used to really target a handful of retail buyers for large chains, and the gamers really didn’t matter that much. The gamers could only buy what was being offered on the shelves. Companies spent most of their sales efforts influencing retail buyers, and marketing had to split its attention between generating consumer demand and doing things to impress retailers.

Now, though, retailers are increasingly less and less important as targets for marketing. Word spreads quickly about games on social media, and great games get great traction. Companies that are responsive to fans over time generate loyalty, especially if games are good and continue to improve. Profits are no longer found just on the week of the game’s launch at retail, but increasingly are spread over months and years of the game’s lifetime (as DLC becomes more and more important).

The most successful game companies are ones that can develop and maintain a great audience for their games. Sure, you have to have good games, but you also have to have a continuous effort to create and maintain a community around those games. That sort of effort means, in part, creating a strong presence at shows like PAX Prime, where the key game influencers can be found.

PAX will continue to expand by adding new shows in different regions, which will mean reaching more key gamers. Game marketers need to factor this into marketing plans, and find other shows where such core gamers lurk. This is where you can learn a great deal from the fans about what they like and don’t like about your game, and see firsthand how they respond to new titles. You can also follow the buzz around other games, and get a sense of what will be hot in the near future.

Yes, PAX Prime is crowded and difficult to navigate and exhausting to exhibit at. But the secret of PAX Prime is that it’s a great venue for game companies to market their products, and to build and strengthen the relationship with gamers.

Budweiser Creates Promotion To Send A Beer To Your Bud

A new pilot campaign by Anheuser-Busch allows people to send beers to whoever they’d like no matter where they are using Facebook, SMS or email to digitally gift the beverages. The spot explaining a bit about the utility of the campaign below lends the age-old tradition of buying a beer for your friend a new, more mobile sheen.

Users will get a prompt on Facebook to buy their bud a beer for their birthday or some other special occasion and a voucher will be sent to the recipient which can then be used to redeem a beer at a bar or restaurant of choice. What’s more, no app is needed.

The campaign is set to target millennials and will be available nationally in Spring 2015.

Source: MediaPost


Defy Launches Break Media App For Xbox

By Sahil Patel

Defy Media has launched an Xbox app for its popular comedy hub Break Media. With the app, the team behind the humor site, which claims an audience of 8 million unique visitors per month, offer a curated selection of video content — from pranks to comedy sketches.

A slew of original series from Break Media are also available via the app, including “Honest Trailers,” “Man at Arms,” and the Paul F. Tompkins-hosted “Speakeasy.” Some content from other Defy Media brands will also be published to the app, which is available on both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles, the company said.

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

New iPhones ‘On Par With Next-Gen’

Electronic Arts’ mobile division watched with great interest Apple’s reveal of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. They were very excited to see the new capabilities unveiled, from the larger screen sizes to the more powerful A8 processor.

“It was a good Christmas morning,” said EA’s head of mobile Frank Gibeau after the conference had wrapped up. “We got a lot of the gifts we asked for. One key takeaway is that with the retina display and the improved processor, combined with the Metal [graphics] capabilities and 128 GB of memory, that gets you to a device that’s on part with next-generation consoles. That’s moving perfectly into our strike zone.”

The notion that mobile devices can be equivalent to the latest console generation will no doubt occasion a great deal of criticism, but it’s not all that far off. While the sheer horsepower of the devices in terms of polygons and clock speeds isn’t matched on smartphones, the capability of the smartphones is undeniable. The latest chips and GPU capabilities put many of the same functions found in desktop and console graphics chips in smartphones, albeit at lower overall power levels. Still, though, it means that games designed around desktop or console game engines can be more easily moved to mobile platforms with relatively high fidelity.

“In some combination of devices, we’re kind of there,” he says. “On others, it’s a little hard. The thing about mobile is there are 60,000 flavors of handsets each year. Some are extraordinarily high performance – and given that you’re looking at a small screen that’s right in front of you, pound for pound, it’s right there.” Gibeau points out the mobile prototype of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare as an example, which runs on mobile devices using EA’s Frostbite engine. That’s the same engine used in the Battlefield series of games. Gibeau expects playable mobile products using the Frostbite graphics engine “soon.”

Gibeau also noted that the mobile technology is improving each year, which allows it to catch up with the static target of consoles. “If you look at the market… mobile has a strong growth path in front of it,” he says. “Then you’ve got wearables on top of that. At EA, we look at it as an especially powerful strategic path for us . . .  We’ve been a premium business – and we’ve been changing the company from the ground up to become a services business. We have an optimistic and profoundly bright view of the future because of this platform expansion in mobile.”

Source: GamesIndustry International

Cord-Cutting Continues To Grow

One of the things that keeps cable-company execs awake at night is the increase in cord-cutting, where people give up entirely on cable TV service in favor of getting their video content from the Internet. While the numbers are small so far, those planning to cut the cord in the coming year are increasing – and that’s a worrisome sign for the cable industry.

The latest survey from Frank M. Magid Associates shows that about 2.9 percent of US pay-TV consumers are “very likely” to cancel cable TV service within the next year. That was up from last year’s survey, which showed 2.7 percent preparing to cut the cord, and in the year before, 2.2 percent.

“These are very small numbers in terms of future cord-cutting from American consumers,” said Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors. “But in mass media, very small numbers are very important, too.” The survey sampled 2,400 consumers aged 8 to 64 in June, 2014.

Perhaps scarier to cable companies, the demographic most likely to drop cable TV is the coveted 25-34 age range, where 4.9 percent said they are very likely to cut the cord.

This does not reflect the growing propensity of young consumers to never sign up for cable TV in the first place, preferring to focus on high-speed Internet service and get whatever video they want from that service.

The growth of cord-cutting also hints at the increasing interest in livestreaming, with Amazon’s recent purchase of Twitch and its 55 million+ monthly streamers. Thos people obsessively watching video streams of people playing games are in the same demographic range as the most likely cord-cutters, and it’s not coincidental. Advertisers are looking for ways to reach that demographic, and clearly cable is likely to be losing those eyeballs to streaming and other places in the years to come.

Source: Variety


Facebook Getting User Input On Ads

Advertising on Facebook will soon have an additional hurdle to jump over: Are users are judging an ad to be offensive or inappropriate If so, Facebook will refrain from serving up that ad. It’s a big change that could make some advertisers unhappy. But not all of them: “We absolutely welcome this change,” Ben Winkler, chief digital officer at media agency OMD, said. “Crummy, irrelevant ads are bad for everybody, and they’re especially insidious in a social feed.”

As of last Thursday, Facebook users are being asked to provide feedback whenevr they “hide” an ad from their news feed. Facebook tested this program some weeks ago, with the findings (revealed in a blog post on Facebook) that many users were hiding ads because they deemed them to be “offensive or inappropriate.” Facebook clearly felt it was important to act on this finding.

The change will no doubt be well-received by users, but it could be problematic for agencies and advertisers. The pressure will be on to improve the quality of ads and to avoid lowest-common-denominator shock value advertising. While this might prevent some ads from reaching customers, Facebook said that in its tests this did not have a significant effect.

“Hiding ads isn’t a natural behavior for most Facebook users, so this isn’t likely to yield a significant amount of data,” according to Matt Wurst, general manager of social media at digital agency 360i. “On the flipside, this feedback should help marketers combine creative and media to create content experiences that people want to engage with.”

Facebook will take pains to assure that ads won’t be ruined by trolls looking to punish a particular brand. The feedback from users who rarely hide ads from their news feed will be weighed more heavily than those from serial ad hiders, the social network said.

“Facebook obviously has a long play here as well: The more relevant the ads are, the more ads a user is willing to see,” Winkler said. “Relevance equals revenue.”

Source: Digiday

Microsoft Tests Game Streaming

As cloud gaming becomes more accepted with services like Onlive and PlayStation Now, it’s not surprising that a report from technology news website Neowin says that Microsoft is experimenting with game streaming. According to the report, Microsoft is testing Xbox 360 and Xbox One games that would run on Microsoft’s Azure cloud and sent as a stream to your browser.

The game streams would run at 60 fps, and will full dashboard support, just like consoles. The games could be streamed not only to PCs, but to smartphones or tablets. The report claims that the service has progressed beyond the concept stage and is currently in testing, with highly positive reactions so far from users.

Microsoft has already shown off some streaming technology last year, demonstrating Halo 4 running from the cloud. The important thing about that demonstration is the low latency that was shown, which made the game very playable. Latency is noticed strongly in action games, where players can easily detect even very small amounts of lag between the time a controller button is pressed and the corresponding action appears on screen.

Such a service would likely build upon Outatime, a research project within the company made public last month, which used FPS Doom 3 and RPG Fable III to test a method of disguising network latency for “mobile cloud gaming”. Microsoft could use a streaming game service to compete directly with PlayStation Now, the Sony streaming service currently in Open Beta in the US and Canada.

As with PlayStation Now, though, solving the technical issues is merely part of the problem. Creating a viable business model is a challenging task. Consumers may expect a subscription model similar to Netflix, though that’s likely to return much less revenue to individual games. Would Microsoft see this as a separate profit center, or use it to provide an additional incentive to pay for Xbox Live service. One thing a streaming game service could also do: It would solve the problem of backwards compatibility, allowing Xbox One owners to play old Xbox 360 titles . . .  though again, the issue of how much this will cost the user is really going to determine how popular this technology might be. What do you think?

Source: Neowin

YouTube’s Ad Share Under Assault

YouTube pioneered digital video ad revenue online, and in the most recent figures will bring in some $1.13 billion in digital video ad revenue for 2014, according to eMarketer. That pencils out to 18.9 percent of the total revenue for US digital video ads, which is not too shabby at all. The outlook that eMarketer sees is for YouTubes net video ad revenues to “grow in step with the video ad market overall, and the site won’t increase its market share significantly in the coming years.”

That’s not exactly what YouTube would like to see, but the market for digital video is increasingly competitive. Advertisers certainly like channels on YouTube that deliver nicely segmented audiences, such as beauty tips or gaming, but the reality is that such focused content is also becoming available elsewhere on the Internet. Those places can have more appeal for advertisers than YouTube, because much of YouTube’s content is either too short for advertisers (users won’t stick around long enough to view the ads) or the video is not brand friendly.

Thus, eMarketer’s projections show that AOL and Yahoo will be gaining in digital display revenues by placing ads next to premium video content, the kind of content where viewers will spend much more time. That includes full-length shows, digital shorts and other professionally produced programming.

According to eMarketer, AOL will see US ad display ad revenues grow nearly 20 percent this year, due to the success of AOL’s ad program. Yahoo is seeing its US display ad business drop this year by 3.6 percent, but with a strong push into premium video content this year, that segment is epxected to grow in 2015.

US digital video spending is booming, with 56 percent growth expected this year as the market reaches $5.96 billion. Growth is expected to slow in the next few years, though, dropping to only 13.9 percent in 2018 as the market hits $12.82 billion. Video’s share of digital display ads will continue to grow for the next few years, eMarketer projects, from 21.6 percent of all display ads last year to 30.1 percent in 2018.

Source: eMarketer